The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Thursday arraigned the duo of Aku Ben Aku and Philips James Aliku alongside their company, Al-Aminu Oil and Gas Limited, before Justice Sulaiman Aliyu Tukur of the High Court of Kaduna.
They were arraigned on a five-count charge bordering on conspiracy, forgery and obtaining money by false pretence to the tune of N14, 602, 600.00.
The offence is contrary to Section 8 (a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable Under Section 1 (3) of the same act.
The first accused person, Aku, while being in the employ of the Petroleum Equalisation Fund Board, allegedly registered a private company, Al-Aminu Oil and Gas, where he is a director.
Aku, allegedly conspired with the second accused person, Aliku, who is also a director in the company, and obtained the sum of N14,602,600.00 from the federal government on the pretence that the money was for the loading and selling of petroleum products by the filling station purportedly located on Madikiya Road, Kafancha, Kaduna State.
Count one of the charge reads: ‘‘That you Aku Ben ‘M’, Philips James Aliku ‘M’, whilst being Directors of Al-Aminu Oil and Gas Limited on about the 11th day of February, 2014 in Kaduna within the jurisdiction of the High Court of Kaduna State did, with intent to defraud, conspired to obtain the sum of N14, 602, 600.00( Fourteen Million, Six Hundred and Two Thousand and Six Hundred Naira) from the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Petroleum Equalisation Fund( Management) Board under the pretence that the said sum represented the loading and selling of petroleum products in the non-existent filling station, claimed to be located along Madikiya Road, Kafancha, Kaduna State. The said sum paid through Zenith Bank Plc. account No. 1013733208, which representation you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 8(a) of the Advanced Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences, 2006 and punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act.’’
Another count reads: ‘‘That you Aku Ben Aku ‘M’, Phillips James Aliku ‘M’, whilst being Directors of Aminu Oil and Gas Limited, on or about the 11th day of February, 2014 in Kaduna within the jurisdiction of the High Court of Kaduna State did, with intent to defraud and in order to facilitate obtaining the sum of 14, 602, 600.00 (Fourteen Million, Six Hundred and Two Thousand and Six Hundred Naira)) by false pretence from the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Petroleum Equalisation Fund ( Management) Board knowingly and fraudulently used as genuine a forged document titled ‘The Department of Petroleum Resources’ Receipt No. DPR/ No.0452666, dated 15th October, 2014 made in favour of Al-Aminu Oil and Gas Limited by presenting the document to the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (Management) Board, purporting the document to have been issued by Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 364 of the Penal Code Cap 532 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (Abuja) 1990″.
The accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charges when they were read to them.
In view of their pleas, the prosecution counsel, Steve Odiase , asked the court for a trial date.
In response, the defence counsel, F.C. Ikpe, told the court that there was a pending application for bail and prayed the court to grant the accused bail on liberal terms.
The prosecution counsel did not oppose the bail application.
After listening to both counsel, Justice Tukur granted the accused persons bail in the sum of N1million each, with one surety each in like sum. The accused persons must deposit their international passports with the court registrar.
Each of the sureties must be a civil servant not below Grade Level 14 or a principal officer in a company.
The accused persons are to be remanded in Kaduna Prison pending the fulfilment of their bail conditions.
The case has been adjourned to March 11for trial.